Somewhat lost amid a resurgent running game and the first 100-yard receiving game of Mike Williams’ career was another highly productive effort by Chargers tight end Hunter Henry, who caught a team-high seven passes for 84 yards in Sunday’s 26-11 upset over Green Bay.
“I’m just trying to make plays, and I’ve been able to do that,” said Henry, who missed four games in September and October after suffering a tibial plateau fracture in his left knee in a season-opening win over Indianapolis.
“Phil [Rivers] has been throwing great balls, especially with some great protection. It’s a team effort every time out, and it all starts with the great protection, which allows for great routes to set everyone up.”
Henry’s most impressive play may have come on the first ball thrown to him, when he made a diving catch over the middle with Packers safety Darnell Savage draped over his back for a 19-yard gain on the Chargers’ fourth play.
Five plays later, Henry caught a 13-yard pass over the middle and fumbled as he was hit by Green Bay cornerback Chandon Sullivan. But officials ruled Henry’s knee was down before he juggled the ball, and the Chargers retained possession on a drive that ended with Michael Badgley’s 29-yard field goal.
Henry had three catches for 36 yards on a drive that ended with Badgley’s 34-yard field goal as the first-half clock expired, and he caught a nine-yard pass on an early-fourth-quarter drive that ended with Melvin Gordon’s one-yard touchdown run, giving the Chargers a 26-3 lead.
Henry benefited from Green Bay’s focus on leading receiver Keenan Allen, who caught only three passes for 40 yards and was often used as a decoy.
And the constant pounding of running backs Gordon and Austin Ekeler, who combined for 150 yards on 32 carries and keyed several clock-consuming drives, took some heat off of Rivers and his pass-catchers.
An offensive line consisting of center Scott Quessenberry, guards Dan Feeney and Michael Schofield and tackles Russell Okung and Trent Scott did most of the heavy lifting in the run game, but Henry, who has 29 catches for 388 yards and two touchdowns this season, chipped in where he could.
“I definitely feel like I own it on the field, especially when it comes to running the football,” Henry said. “I don’t do a lot of hitting during the game, and I wouldn’t say that I’m the best blocker in the world, but I’ll put my face in there. I’ll work hard at it and take pride in it.”